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Friday, February 4, 2011

Hair today, gone tomorrow Part III

We seem to cover the strangest things in this blog, while attempting to show how math is used in everyday life. This series on hair has come around to the question of what is a haircut? and Who can give you a haircut?
It would seem (to a man) that a haircut is when a barber cuts some of your hairs shorter, using a sharp tool. But most people want more than just cutting. We really want to look better, and cutting hair is only one part of an attractive appearance.
The term barber faded. Hair stylist came to mean a much cooler person who doesn't just cut hair. What is a hair stylist then?  This is best answered by referring to legal definitions. When the lawyers and the government get involved, it becomes complicated! Here's what California has to say on the subject, at its Barber/Cosmetologist website
  • A barber can prep, style, cut, color and shave hair, and can apply cosmetic preparations, antiseptics, powders or lotions to the scalp, face or neck. Barbers are the only ones who can shave a consumer or display a striped pole outside their shop.
  • A cosmetologist can prep, style, cut, color, bleach or straighten body hair, including tinting eyelashes; may give facials and remove hair by waxing or tweezing. The license allows them to provide any services of an esthetician or manicurist (see below)
    • Estheticians can perform facials and remove body hair by tweezing or waxing. They may apply makeup, false eyelashes, and do face or neck massages. They can bleach skin using chemical exfoliation.
    • Manicurists can give manicures and pedicures and apply gel, acrylic or silk false nails. They are limited to working on hand and foot areas only. Ingrown toenails must be treated by a doctor.
  • Electrologists may use a needle or probe to remove hair from a person using electric current. They are the only licensees that can use needles. 
  • Wigologists are people trained in wig and hairpiece fitting, styling, coloring and repair.
  • Physicians (and nurses working with them) can do laser hair removal or aesethetic cosmetic (plastic) surgery.
Services provided in the following areas do not require certification from the state as barbers or cosmetologists, although they might need other training or licensing:
  • Hairbraiders create elaborate braids and cornrows in naturally curly hair. Braiding is specifically exempted from cosmetology licensing in California and some other states. 
  • Massage Therapists who treat muscles beyond the face and neck.
  • Practitioners who apply permanent makeup, cosmetics or tattoos.
  • Operators of tanning salons.
Having said all that, here is some information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you want to consider hair styling as an occupation in the next decade, we're going to need almost a quarter-million more than we have today.

in 000s
in 000s
New Jobs
in 000s
New Jobs
in %
% Self
in 000s
Barbers5460 6 11.6 80.6 14.0 $24,050
Cosmetologists 631758 127 20.1 43.5 220 $23,140
Teachers 750860 110 14.7 20.8 226 $31,100
Mathematicians 33.6 0.7 22.5 0.0 1.5 $95,150

However, if you want to earn lots of money, you could take up math. Notice there aren't many mathematicians, and none of them are self-employed. Although they make a lot of money, they certainly don't make anyone else look better. Except perhaps by comparison.

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